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Deep-dive Q&A: Behind the scenes of Obduction, Cyan's move beyond Myst

Hayden Dingman | Oct. 7, 2014
We visited Cyan's offices in Washington and picked their brains about Obduction, a crowdfunded spiritual success to Myst.

ERIC ANDERSON (EA), Art Lead at Cyan : Rand's favorite days. [Laughs]

RM: [Laughing] Oh I dread these days. It truly is like, "Okay, must detach emotional side of brain." Your confirmation bias is going, "No! I spent a lot of hours on this and it's so good and I own it!" No.

What we do make them do is not just be individual critics. They need to get in a room together and come up with a list of priorities. "We all agree this sucked. And this." And they try to come up with ideas or paths or complete fixes for those. So then Richard and I go back in and churn on it, maybe make another presentation, and they're like "Oh, that's good, that's good." It's part of the honing process that we're pretty close to done with, except that it gets honed over the whole thing anyway.

How many people are on the project?
RYAN WARZECHA (RW), Project lead on Obduction: The company right now is fifteen people.

VA: When QA comes on board, we'll get bigger.

EA: We're real programmer heavy right now. Myself and our concept artist are all we have for art. We don't have a very pretty looking game but we have a game that functions well.

RM: We're doing that whole "Let's play the whole game through, let's get all the puzzles done, and then make it pretty."

EA: Turns out art's expensive!

RM: Press that art button.

RW:RealMyst Masterpiece was done in Unity. We knew going into the Kickstarter campaign we really wanted to use Unreal 4.

EA: I've been trying to drag Tony, our president, into the Unreal camp for years but it just hasn't been feasible. We were trying to do smaller projects.

I don't have a programmer bone in my body...
RM: You say that. You have like, a closet programmer hidden in you just clawing its way out.

EA: The tools in there are just killer. Being able to make production tools that the rest of the team can use in just a day of connecting nodes together. For years, I was like "I don't know, the idea of coding...what if something goes wrong? It's this black box. Debugging it." It turns out...maybe we got in at the right time, because maybe Unreal 3 wasn't the best, but Unreal 4 is great. We've had issues where, yeah, maybe their black box doesn't work the way we want, but we're full licensees so we can jump in and tweak it.

RM: Better than Riven.

EA: As far as production tools?

RM: Just feedback. A lot of stuff's changed since RIven. We had the whole build-your-own-engine Myst Online stuff in between, but that whole pre-rendered Riven stuff... Riven was the height of that and it was just a nightmare. It pushed that as far as I'd ever want to push that.


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